Tobias Thienel

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Welcoming all readers to this blog, I feel I should briefly introduce myself. My interest in public international law goes back to the end of my first year at the University of Kiel (that was in late 2000), when I began my participation in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at the Walther Schücking Institute of International Law, together with Nicki and Björn (and Philipp, who is not here). All of us, I think it is fair to say, took that interest further throughout our undergraduate studies.
After graduating in December 2004, I took up employment at the aforementioned Institute (Chair of Prof. Andreas Zimmermann), following Nicki and Björn, as it were. It was my job to work as an assistant editor (in a position shared with Dr. Christian J. Tams) on The Statute of the International Court of Justice. A Commentary, edited by Prof. Zimmermann, Prof. Christian Tomuschat, and Dr. Karin Oellers-Frahm, and published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.
In September 2006, I went on to take an LL.M. course (in International Law) at the University of Edinburgh, which ended in late August 2007 (graduation in late November – pictured, obviously…). Since then, I have completed my traineeship as a German lawyer (Referendariat), that is to say two years in various stages of legal practice. The last stage of that traineeship took me, for three months, to the European Court of Human Rights – a thoroughly enjoyable experience. At the end of those two years, I am now coming up to the oral exams that, once passed, will allow me to become a lawyer, apply to be a judge, etc. pp.
I have published a little, mostly on international human rights law, including the use of evidence obtained by torture, and other topics under the ECHR and several other issues of international law. One not wholly insignificant strand of my publications relates to international procedural law. That is sure to increase when I finish my doctoral thesis, on Third States’ Interests and International Judicial Dispute Settlement (that’s the Monetary Gold case, basically).
As might perhaps be expected, it is these areas of interest that I am most likely to pursue on this blog. I look forward to presenting and discussing new and (with any luck) interesting ideas and events in international human rights law.

I look forward to participating in this exciting new venture, and to future discussions with our readers.

3 thoughts on “Tobias Thienel

  1. Seb,

    thank you for your comment.

    I would have thought that Lord Bingham’s points, which you cite, were indeed directed at an interpretation of the UN resolutions. He sought to answer the question, posed by Art 5 DARIO – great abbreviation, by the way…), whether the Un had effective control of the missions in Kosovo (as per Behrami and Saramati) and Iraq, respectively (the latter relevant to Al-Jedda’s case itself). True, he didn’t refer to the wording or context of the resolutions as such, but his references to the nature of the missions established by the different resolutions would seem to do much the same thing. He decided what effect the resolutions had (on the question of attribution) by looking at what they did.

    If that attempt at an explanation does not satisfy you, maybe Lord Bingham of Cornhill simply did what some lawyers in common law jurisdictions tend to do, that is point to some difference in fact between a precedent (Behrami) and the case at hand, without necessarily pointing out why the difference should be all that decisive? I wouldn’t suppose that he is guilty, in a case reaching deep into international (and not the common) law, of such an abdication of principle, but I guess it’s a possibility.

  2. Dear Tobias,

    I refer to your insightful postings on opinio juris. Many thanks for these.

    I note Lord Bingham’s point that
    the analogy between Behrami broke down at every point (e.g.AJ’s detention
    was NOT attributable to the UN. The multinational force had not been
    established at the UN behest, were not operating under UN auspices and was
    not a subsidiary organ of the UN. There had been no delegation of UN power
    in Iraq. Further, it could not realistically be said that the US and UK
    were under the effective command and control of the UN (see e.g. under ART
    5 DARIO))

    However, isn’t this all really an issue of interpreting a security council
    resolution/a straight art 103 issue? That is to say, does it matter what was the purpose behind the
    resolution – Shouldn’t we confine ourselves to the four corners of the
    resolution. What brought the SC resolution to bear is irrelevant. It is the
    interpretation of that document with which we should be concerned?

    Would be grateful for any thoughts you might have on this.

    many thanks and regards,


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